Sal Anthony tells us that he’s turning his East Village restaurant, Lanza’s, over to his partners so he can concentrate on his newly opened vegetarian spot, Adelina Café (named after his mother). Where his previous endeavor in the space, Sal Anthony’s Raw, was set up as a cafeteria, he has now installed fourteen tables in a proper dining room, and placed a counter up front. (For now, the restaurant is BYOB.) Though cooked vegetarian dishes have been added to the mix, a good deal of the menu is still Italian raw. If that sounds like an oxymoron, Anthony points out that Italy has a tradition of crudo dishes, and a raw-foodist community with whom he’s been swapping recipes.
Here he’s serving raw pizza (the crust is made from dehydrated vegetable pulp and flaxseed), spaghetti primavera made with zucchini noodles, and Alfredo done with Brazil-nut milk. The cheesecake, once made from cashews, is now made from coconut meat. The rest of the menu can be found here.
So what’s it like competing with Pure Food and Wine nearby? “Her prices are higher,” Anthony points out. He later tells us, “Raw food is starting to become a trendy game. It’s becoming elitist and super expensive. Elitism bothers me. Some places say, ‘We charge a lot of money because it’s a lot of labor.’ You get more labor filleting a fish.”
Indeed, Anthony says he was turned on to raw food (or “live” food, as he prefers to call it — meaning the enzymes aren’t killed by fire) when he saw how quickly it could be prepared for a large amount of people. “We’re trying to make it palatable for the general public and not just people with deep pockets.”
Adelina Café, 119 E. 17th St.; nr. Irving Pl.; 212 674-6677